Fact or Fiction?| Infinite Meaningfulness| Why Intentions Determine Right or Wrong| Best Reference of Objectivity?| Buddhist Perspective of War
- TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 18.03.06
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The fact that many believe something
never meant any should believe it to be fact.
The fact that many disbelieve something
never meant any should disbelieve it to be fact.
Almost the whole world believed the world was flat.
Almost the whole world disbelieved it was spherical.
Toward Infinite Meaningfulness
Why Intentions Determine Right or Wrong
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Realisation: What Is the Best Reference of Objectivity?
The ultimate teacher teaches us to be our own ultimate authority. - stonepeace
Chatting with a friend on a Buddhist book, I commented that the author seemed pretty objective. She asked, "How do you know he is objective?" I replied "Well, he seems objective - to me at least." Then came the question of "Who or what is the best measure of objectivity? How do we truly know something is true?" Instead of the expected answer of "The Buddha's teachings in the scriptures", the shocking answer I gave as I pointed at her was - "You!" At the risk of sounding blasphemous, to a good Buddhist, the Buddha's teachings are not the measure of ultimate truth, since ultimate truth is not something meant to be agreed with but personally realised - by becoming a Buddha! Meanwhile, the more enlightened we become, the more of the whole Truth do we see. As taught by the Buddha, "As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus (monks), should you accept my words - after testing them, and not merely out of respect." Of course, before enlightenment, the Buddha's teachings serve as the best guide to the faithful Buddhist, though they should not be dogmatically followed without question.
Even if the Buddha were to teach us in person, would we agree with absolutely everything He says? Chances are - not entirely, due to our delusions. But it's okay, because the truth is, as mentioned, He doesn't expects us to follow him blindly, but to be as objective as we can - bearing in mind too that He is a master trainer of perfect objectivity! What we realise is only as objective as we are objective, so our mission is to continually expand our hearts and minds, to align with reality through spiritual practice, to discover whether it is in line with the vision of the Buddha through personal verification. While the fully Enlightened Buddha is the best example of objectivity to Buddhists, He can only offer a reference point. Faith alone that He is perfectly objective does not increases our objectivity! The Dharma that we learn is often "filtered" through many levels. The original source is the Buddha's experience of reality, which is then taught by the Buddha personally, which are later recorded in scriptures, which are later presented to us as interpreted and taught by teachers, which are further interpreted by ourselves! Imagine the amount of Truth that just might have gotten lost, diluted or distorted in the process! Surely, the Buddha wishes us to return to the original source of truth by personal realisation!
At best, to believe another's experience of the Truth is accepting second class truth; first class truth is that which is realised by personal experience. In the words of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, "Anything that contradicts experience and logic should be abandoned. The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis." Since we are to be the ultimate authority, it is our onus to improve our objectivity. In this sense, there is no need to argue excessively on scriptural or teacher authority - since to you, the ultimately relevant authority on what constitutes Truth is you! If we can only be as wise as our delusions allow, let us clear them well! The complete clearance of our delusions is Enlightenment itself! Of course, good teachers are still invaluable, such as the Buddha and His Holiness above - or we might not know the importance to be objective! So even when we ourselves are the truly relevant measure of objectivity, it is still very important to be humble - so as to be be more able to learn to be truly objective! - Shen Shi'an
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Review: Response to "Are We Caught in the Matrix of Dreams?"
Excerpt: Buddhist Perspective of War
Since wars begin from rage within us, the end of wars begins from love within us. - stonepeace
Buddhist teachings strongly oppose the use of violence, analysing it in psychological terms as the product of greed, hatred and delusion. The false belief in a self (atman) and a desire to protect that self against "others" who are thought to threaten it is seen as one underlying cause of aggression. Buddhism holds that drawing a sharp boundary between self and others leads to the construction of a self-image that sees all that is not of "me and mine" (such as those of another country, race or creed) as alien and threatening. When this strong sense of self is reduced by practising Buddhist teachings, such egocentric preoccupations are thought to subside and to be replaced by a greater appreciation of the kinship among beings. This dissipates the fear and hostility which engender conflict and so removes one of the main causes of violent disputes. When threatened, Buddhists are encouraged to practise patience as well as practices designed to cultivate tolerance and forbearance.* Anger is seen as a negative emotion that serves only to inflame situations and inevitably rebounds, causing negative karmic consequences.
* TDEditor's note: Practised well, the "enemy" can be touched and transformed by compassion and forgiveness.
- Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (Damien Keown)